Monday 2 May 2022

van Gerwen back in the winners' circle

Great tournament from Michael. Probably peaked in that steamrollering of Dirk, but impressive throughout none the less. Noppert deserves the plaudits as well, maybe just ran out of steam in the evening session. Good run from Evans to climb into the Matchplay provisional spots as things stand, definitely one that we need to keep an eye on, although he won't be in Leverkusen which is going to come round quickly this week, but he will be in Prague the week after. This is a huge month for the Matchplay race, for now, let's show updated FRH rankings:

1 Peter Wright
2 Gerwyn Price
3 Michael Smith
4 Michael van Gerwen
5 James Wade
6 Jonny Clayton
7 Rob Cross
8 Gary Anderson
9 Danny Noppert (UP 1)
10 Jose de Sousa (DOWN 1)
11 Ryan Searle
12 Joe Cullen
13 Luke Humphries
14 Dimitri van den Bergh
15 Krzysztof Ratajski
16 Nathan Aspinall
17 Dirk van Duijvenbode
18 Damon Heta
19 Dave Chisnall
20 Callan Rydz (NEW)

Rydz, just by being a seed and winning his opening match, pips King to 20th, although with Bunting having a good run, he's closed the gap and made it a bit of a three horse race with a good gap to Chisnall ahead. Noppert only just gets past de Sousa by less than 100 points, but will continue to climb with this Euro Tour run, Ando's only about 5k ahead and will surely drop to #10 by the end of the month. While van Gerwen was fifth at the start of the year, he's now much closer to Smith (down 36k) than he is to Wade (up 45k) so is closing the gap. Heck, a couple more Euro Tour finals and he's basically there even if he splits them if Smith doesn't respond.

Weekly Dartscast asks an interesting question of the week in is MvG now favourite for the Matchplay. The answer is a tricky one. He is scoring more than anyone in 2022, but not by a massive amount - he's at a mid 95 point. Anderson and Heta are low 95, Wright's high 94, Humphries mid 94, Cross and Searle are low 94, then there's another six players at 93. So he's not ahead by that much, and the crux of the matter is that barring a complete loss of form and Smith or Wade going ham, he is going to be the #3 seed. This means he is, assuming the seedings go their way, he is going to have to get through both of Price and Wright in some order - whichever of those is number 1 will need to beat just one of them. That's enough of a knockdown to make whoever ends up as the #1 seed probably favoured - although they won't have an easy path to the semis as projected, with Searle #16 right now (Humphries just behind and van Duijvenbode just ahead isn't going to give you an easier match if things shift) and Clayton/van den Bergh on a little bit of an island at #8/#9, although I can easily see de Sousa slipping back, he's less than a Euro Tour win away from Clayton. It's going to be an interesting tournament and it will be wide open.

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